Maybe you know them as “Gobs” (especially if you hail from PA) or maybe you know them as “Whoopie Pies”. Whatever you call them, these classic desserts are absolutely irresistible! They consist of two cakey chocolate cookies sandwiched around an old-fashioned vanilla filling. Today I’m sharing my grandmother’s recipe, no marshmallow fluff in this one!
So what do you call them, Gobs or Whoopie Pies? Or maybe you don’t call them anything? Maybe this big, fat, Oreo cookie-looking thing on your screen is totally unfamiliar? If that’s the case I have a treat for you today!
I’m sharing my grandmother’s recipe for old fashioned Gobs. It’s a fairly simple recipe that yields soft, cakey chocolate cookies sandwiched around a not-too-sweet filling. I always thought that Gobs (Whoopie Pies) were known everywhere, but it seems the “Gobs” name is more of a Pennsylvania thing, and it’s what I grew up calling them.
So What is the Difference Between a Whoopie Pie and a Gob?
There is no difference between a Gob and a Whoopie Pie, different regions simply refer to them by different names. In fact, several different states claim that the Whoopie Pie originated from them (both Maine and Pennsylvania make strong cases, and as a PA resident guess who I’m siding with). The name “Whoopie Pie” is sometimes cited as having Amish origins (another vote for PA 😉), but with so many different origination stories, it’s hard to know for sure.
Let’s Talk about Gobs Filling
The filling for this old fashioned gob recipe might be a little different than you’re used to. It’s actually pretty similar to ermine frosting, if you’ve ever made that before.
Many Gobs recipes call for a marshmallow-fluff based filling, and some simply use a fluffy vanilla buttercream. To be honest, I’m always disappointed when I bite into a Gob that’s made with one of these imposter fillings. It’s just too sweet! For this filling, I stuck faithfully to my grandmother’s recipe (after a little coercion, more on that below).
What’s mostly unique about this recipe is that, rather than starting by creaming together butter and sugar, we instead begin by cooking together flour and milk on our stovetop to make a paste (or maybe it’s more of a roux). This paste (and not marshmallow fluff!) is going to be the base of our frosting. And it’s going to be good, and not too sweet.
TIP! Make sure you let your roux/paste cool completely before you stir in the remainder of your ingredients (butter, shortening, vanilla, salt, powdered sugar). On days when I have the foresight to do so, I actually like to make the paste first, that way it has plenty of time to cool while I’m making my chocolate cookies.
Shortening Vs. Butter
If you’re a regular Sugar Spun Run reader 💜 you might be surprised to see that this recipe uses shortening. It’s not often that I use shortening in a recipe. Hardcore butter fan, right here 🙋🏼(remember my buttery, shortening-free peanut butter blossoms?).
Before I shared this gobs recipe, I was determined to modify it so that I used all butter and no shortening. That did not go over well with my family/taste testers (all butter-lovers themselves). After at least half a dozen rounds of recipe variation trials and blind taste tests later, the consensus was overwhelming. Just stick to the recipe. For once. Geez.
So I did. And, as with my other family recipes (see my Potato Candy, Chocolate Fudge, and Angel Food Cake), some things are better left alone. Which in this case means we’re using shortening, believe it or not.
What If I Want to Use Butter Anyway?
These Gobs will still turn out if you use butter instead of the shortening that is called for. The primary drawback of doing a straight substitution is that the cookies will be a bit drier than they would be if you used shortening and the filling will lose some of its signature mouthfeel.
Do Gobs/Whoopie Pies Need to be Refrigerated?
While not required, I do recommend keeping your whoopie pies refrigerated, especially if it’s a particularly warm/humid time of year. My family actually prefers their gobs to be refrigerated, just make sure you wrap them in plastic wrap or keep them in an airtight container so they don’t dry out.
Other Recipes You Might Like:
Make sure to check out my How to Make Gobs video at the bottom of the post! If you enjoy watching, make sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel where I’ve already uploaded over 100 recipe videos that you can watch for free! 💜
Whoopie Pies (Gobs)
- 1 cup sugar (200g)
- ¼ cup shortening I use Crisco
- 1 large egg lightly beaten
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ cup buttermilk¹ (120ml) (see notes for substitute)
- 2 cups all-purpose plain flour (250g)
- ¼ cup cocoa powder² (50g)
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup very hot or boiling water (120ml)
- 1 cup whole milk (236ml)
- 5 Tablespoons all-purpose plain flour
- ¾ cup unsalted butter (170g)
- 2 Tablespoons shortening
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup powdered sugar (125g)
- Preheat oven to 450F (235C) and line several cookie sheets with parchment paper³. Set aside.
- In a large bowl or in the bowl of a stand mixer, combine sugar and shortening and beat together until well-combined.
- Add egg and vanilla extract and stir until mixture is pale yellow and well-combined.
- Stir in buttermilk and then set mixture aside.
- In a separate, medium-sized bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Prepare your boiling water.
- Alternate adding the dry ingredients and hot/boiling water to the wet ingredients, starting and ending with the dry ingredients and stirring until combined after each addition. I usually add the flour in 3 parts and the water in 2.
- Stir until well-combined and mixture is smooth. Be sure to use a spatula to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl to ensure ingredients are thoroughly combined. The mixture should be thin like a cake batter rather than thick like a cookie dough.
- Drop cookie batter by a heaping Tablespoon onto prepared baking sheets, spacing cookies at least 2” apart (they will spread in the oven).
- Bake for 5 minutes in 450F (235C) oven, then remove from oven and allow to cool completely.
- Meanwhile, prepare your cream filling.
- This Whoopie Pie filling starts with a flour/milk paste that’s critical to the texture and consistency of an old-fashioned Whoopie Pie/Gob. Pour milk into medium-sized saucepan over medium/low heat and then sift/whisk flour into milk until smooth.
- Continue to whisk constantly until mixture is thickened to a near paste-like consistency that wants to cling together. Remove from heat and allow to cool completely, stirring occasionally to prevent a skin from forming, before proceeding (if it’s warm and you proceed you’ll melt your filling and have a runny mess). If you refrigerate the filling, press a piece of plastic wrap directly against the surface to prevent a skin from forming. To speed up the process you can pour mixture into another container but it will take at least 30 minutes. Flour mixture will thicken even more as it cools.
- Once flour/milk mixture has cooled, add to a medium-sized mixing bowl along with butter, shortening, salt and vanilla. Use an electric mixer to beat until creamy and well-combined.
- With mixer on low speed, gradually add powdered sugar until completely combined.
- Pair up your cooled chocolate cookies so that you have evenly-sized pairs.
- Pipe or spread filling onto the bottom of one cookie then top with another cookie to make a sandwich. Repeat until all cookies are filled. Enjoy!
Nutritional information is based on third-party calculations and should be considered an estimate only. Actual nutritional content will vary based upon brands used, measuring methods, cooking method, portion sizes, and more.
I did let the flour, milk mixture cool completely but when I made the filling, it was runny. It looks as though the mixture has almost separated where I can see little bits of butter. Any suggestions for this happening?
Hmmm was it particularly warm in your kitchen? This could cause the separation you are describing.
Exactly like the gobs I grew up eating in PA. The filling is what makes this legit. Followed your recipe exactly and they came out great. Thank you for sharing and helping me pass on this wonderful childhood memory to my grands!
I’m so glad you enjoyed them so much, Kim! 🙂
My filling is delicious but very runny. I did let the flour/milk mixture cool completely, but maybe my butter got too soft while I was waited for it to cool. (I did make this in 90 degree heat in a kitchen with no air conditioning.) Should the butter be softened at all before making the filling?
Hi Laura! I’m so sorry this happened. Unfortunately, it’s probably do to the heat in the kitchen. 🙁
Tried this again early in the morning before the heat of the day. Turned out perfect! Thank you, Sam!
These were great! Great flavor and consistency in both the cookie and filling. Much better than the recipes that use marshmallow fluff which is too sticky and sweet. My only issue is that the flour/milk paste ended up with a skim on the top that left some lumps in the filling. Not a huge deal, but any suggestions on how to avoid this? Should I cover it while it cools?
Hi Amy! I’m so glad you enjoyed them! If you place a piece of plastic wrap directly against the surface it will help keep this from happening. I have added a note to the recipe for this issue. Thank you! 🙂
Do you happen to have a recipe for a sugar cookie gob?
Hi Marilyn! Unfortunately I do not but I will add it to my list. 🙂
These look exactly like the Gobs of my childhood!! Omg I’m so excited to make these with my kids. I’ve tried so many imposter whipping pies with icky sweet filling only to be so sadly disappointed. My grandparents were from PA, but I never got this recipe from my grandmother before she passed. Thank you!
I hope you love them, Danielle! 🙂
Perfect recipe. Followed the recipe exactly and they turned out great! I live in Pennsylvania and these are just like the Amish Gobs in Lancaster ❤️
I’m so glad you enjoyed, Dawn! Thank you so much for trying my recipe, I appreciate it! 🙂
Seriously, following this recipe for the filling left me with a runny mess. 1 cup of confectioners sugar did not thicken the filling to a good consistency. Had to keep adding confectionary sugar until it was thick enough and now have enough filling for 50 Whoopie pies/gobs.
Hi Kate! OH no, I’m so sad to hear that! Unfortunately if that happened then the roux was most likely either not cooked enough on the stove or not cooled enough before the sugar was added, either of these issues would leave you with a runny mess 🙁 It might be helpful to take a peek at the video if you haven’t already and I am sure you will have better results next time!
Hello I am planning to try this recipe tomorrow. Where I live in Maine whoopie pie’s are a big hit in Maine. I will let you know how they come out. Thanks
I hope you love them! 🙂
Hello my name is Maureen can use salted butter and omit the salt for the whoopie pie. Thanks
Hi Maureen! That will work just fine here. 🙂
I don’t know where your from but where i come from in Pennsylvania Home of the Gob ,Gobs and Whoopie Pies are not the same thing.My brother worked for the bakery and made Gobs.
This is a Pennsylvania recipe. I live right next door to Amish country so I would respectfully disagree. 😉
I just finished making them and tasted the first one. I followed the recipe to the letter. However, while they were very good, and did take me back to my childhood in Central PA (with PA Dutch roots), I found the icing to still be a little lumpy.
I sifted the flour and powdered sugar, butter was soft and at room temp, shortening was fine, everything measured as the recipe calls for. The flour/milk mixture was just like yours in the video and it was cooled completely. I mixed everything really well and once I realized that there were still some lumps I mixed for longer. So I’m not sure why they were still there. Not sure if it makes any difference, but I live in Singapore. However, our house has aircon and my appliances are just as they were when we lived in the States.
I’d like to make them again to try to fix this, do you have any advice or ideas for me? I think I would also add extra cocoa powder next time for a more chocolatey taste.
With all of that said, it is a very good recipe and made me think of my “Ma”, which was the best part 🙂
Hi Andi! Whisking really well once adding it to the saucepan is the trick to getting a smooth frosting. 🙂
Can i use butter instead of shortening.
Hi Andres! That will work fine. 🙂
David and Teresa Cook
Hi can I use coconut oil in place of butter/shortening?
It could work but I don’t recommend it here.
These gobs turned out great! My husband loved them. I love the filling! It was just like I remembered when I was a child. Thanks! Would you happen to have a recipe for pumpkin gobs?
I am so glad you enjoyed them so much, Wendy! I do have a recipe for pumpkin whoopie pies (gobs). 🙂
David and Teresa Cook
NOW yer talkin! I love pumpkin gobs hade my first in Armaugh Pa. I’m from Oklahoma but my wife is from around Johnstown (Mulligan hill) and so thats where I had my first gob (Chocolate) but I prefer the pumpkin. My wife just made a batch of choc gobs and her sister sent a recipe that had all you say for the cakes but 4 cups of flour BLAAAAH! They were heavy and dense not sure if it was too much flour or the coconut oil? Thats why I asked about the coconut oil,lol.
Hmm the dense cakes are probably a combination of the coconut oil and the flour here.
I used 1/2 cup cocoa powder – I do not think 1/4 cup is enough to give the cakes a deep chocolate flavor. Also another recipe I use calls for strong coffee and that brings out the chocolate flavor as well. I also baked the cakes at 425 degrees for 5 minutes but I also have a convection oven.
I don’t know what they’re supposed to taste like because I never had a gob a.k.a whoopie pie before but I followed the recipe as written and these are delicious!! Next time I might add dark chocolate cocoa powder to amplify the taste.
Thanks for sharing the recipe!
I’m so glad you enjoyed! Thank you so much for trying my recipe, I appreciate it! 🙂